Professor Raman Bedi visited Cambodia for a week in June to meet with stakeholders, explore new partnerships, and monitor progress in the SEAL CAMBODIA project.
Highlights of the visit included:
1. Meeting SEAL CAMBODIA partners - about 20 representatives form the MOH, SEAL sponsors, NGOs (One-2-One Cambodia, Cambodia World Family, Cambodia Buddhist Library Project), International University, and University of Puthisastra attended the meeting. Professor Bedi gave a presentation focusing on the world-wide problem of Early Childhood Caries, and how there is increasing international interest in addressing this significant health problem. He explained that Cambodia has one of the highest rates of ECC in the world, with a 6 year old deft of 9.0. Dr Bethy Turton (who is providing research support for SEAL Cambodia) and Dr Callum Durward (Chair of the GCDF Cambodia Taskforce) also spoke. They focussed on the progress in the SEAL Cambodia project, and some minor changes in the protocols to improve the retention of the sealants. Over 25,000 children have been sealed so far, and the project is about to be extended to include both Grade 1 and 2 children. There was time after the presentations for discussion, and partners were able to talk about their successes and challenges.
2. Meeting with One-2-One and CamKids (The Cambodian Children's Charity) to discuss future sustainability for the project after the initial 3 year period.
3. Meeting with the staff of the Paediatric Dental Department at the National University Dental School. In 2011 the GCDFund fully refurbished the Paediatric Dental Department. In 2014 another grant was given to help repair the dental chairs and provide materials for students.
4. Meeting with the President of the University of Puthisastra to discuss future collaboration and involvement of their dental students in the SEAL Cambodia project. The new Colgate Bright Smiles Bright Futures assistance for the paediatric dental clinics was also discussed. Professor Bedi also presented some books and journals for the new university library. Donations of more second hand books from overseas dentists would be warmly welcomed.
5. Meeting at Ministry of Health with Dr Hak Sithan (who attended the 2013 SLD course - and is now Deputy Head of Department of Preventive Medicine) and Dr Chher Tepirou (Head of Oral Health Office at the MOH). Discussion included efforts by the Oral Health Office to address the problem of ECC. Recently the Burrow's Foundation has partnered in a pilot intervention project in Cambodia using fluoride varnish in preschool children.